Indonesia chief justice demoted for ethics violation

The chief justice of Indonesia's Constitutional Court has been found guilty over a ruling that led to last-minute changes in candidacy requirements for the upcoming presidential election.

On Tuesday, a judicial council said Anwar Usman committed ethical violations in connection with the ruling that cleared the way for President Joko Widodo's son to run for the vice presidency.

Anwar is the president's brother-in-law. He was also dismissed from his position as the chief justice.

The controversial judgement by the Constitutional Court last month carved out an exception to the minimum age requirement. It held that vice-presidential candidates do not have to be 40 or older, if they have served as regional leaders.

The decision allowed Joko's eldest son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, to seek the post. The 36-year-old Gibran is the mayor of Surakarta City in Central Java.
He was picked to be current Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto's running mate in the presidential contest. The election is scheduled to take place in February.

The ethics council proved the chief justice breached the principles of neutrality and integrity. But the council does not have the authority to overturn the court's ruling on the candidacy requirements.

Critics call the court decision nepotistic. The ruling was made just three days before the start of the registration period. The incumbent, Joko Widodo, has not backed a candidate. But some analysts say he is playing the role of kingmaker to try to retain influence after he leaves office.